The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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BY S. C. Turnbo

A large number of people who lived on the Buffalo Fork of White River did not escape the ravages of war. Men, woman and children underwent some of the worst tortures. A number of people concealed part of their household goods and provision in the secluded spots of the mountains. They did likewise with their money if they had any on hand worth taking pains to put it in a place of safety. Mrs. Sarah Drake, daughter of Marion and Sarah Fowler, and who was born in the valley of the Buffalo River relates a blood curdling story of a band of brutal fiends who visited the house of a man of the name of Baker who lived on a stream called Bear Creek which runs into Buffalo from the south side. This is in Searcy County, Arkansas, and Mr. Baker lived below Lebanon and near where Mr. Neser Arnold’s mill and gin is. Mrs. Drake said, "If I mistake not Mr. Baker’s wife’s name was Nan. She had two daughters named Josie and Bias and two sons named Jim and Calvin. These children except Jim were small when the war was going on. One night while Mr. Baker and Jim was away from home, the band of heartless men rode up to the yard gate and dismounted and walked into the house and with threats and oaths they attempted to compel Mrs. Baker and Calvin to tell of the whereabouts of their money and other valuables which they refused to do. They then proceeded to whip the faithful woman with a drawing chain and hung Calvin by the toes to a joist in the house. Mrs. Baker was beaten almost to death with the chains before the brutes let up and Calvin suffered intensely before they let him down. In the meantime one of the men filled a sack full of tobacco in the twist and took it out and tied it to his saddle on the horse. Others carried the beds out into the wood yard where their horses was hitched and after the boy Calvin was set free he crept out of doors and seeing a chance without being observed and with a small knife he ripped the bottom of the sack open that held the tobacco, and when the thieves had done all the inqury in their power without entirely killing any of the members of the family they tied the bed ticks to the horses tails then ripped one end open and mounted their horses and started off in a gallop and strewed feathers and tobacco all along the road until the bed ticks were exhausted of their feathers and the sack was empty of tobacco. The bandits did not stop at this but finally killed Mr. Baker and his son Jim in a cruel manner. Mrs. Baker who had partially recovered from the terrible ordeal of being whipped with the chain had her husband and son buried under a large apple tree that stood in the corner of the orchard. After the close of the war she had the two graves and the apple tree enclosed with paling. Mrs. Baker bore ugly scare on her body, head and limbs to the day of her death and was subject to spasms that attacked her after she had underwent the brutal treatment inflicted on her by the bushwhackers and cutthroats. Mrs. Baker when her death occurred received interment in a graveyard on the bank of Bear Creek."

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